You know how I’m always posting photos from Taos Valley Overlook about five miles south of Ranchos de Taos, itself three miles south of Taos? The gorge, the ninety-mile views, all that?—there will be more of those coming up, but this is what’s behind me to the south when I take those other pictures. Not a bad place to hike, is it? Picuris Peak is the one in shadow, not the rocky one in front, and just beyond on the other side of the mountains is Picuris Pueblo, one of the smaller ones you don’t hear about so much. A couple of thousand years ago a tribe that lived more or less where you’re looking now—a little to the left, actually—decided to split up: some of them moved to what became Taos Pueblo, and the others went to Picuris. Yes, two thousand years ago. The Spaniards showed up here about four centuries ago. We came in ’99, although I only just now arrived in the full sense of the word.
It’s good to be somewhere, isn’t it? I’ve spent a considerable portion of the last fifteen years trying to be all kinds of places. Meanwhile, look at where I’ve been! I did not fuck up, in other words. The voices in my blood from childhood are simply wrong. Yesterday, while walking three and a half miles virtually all alone in this beautiful place, I felt flooded with joy. At one point I was startled to realize that the stream of thoughts inside my head for the previous few minutes had been a happy one without conditions. It took up my whole mind! The usual quiet nasty business wasn’t there.
I told my wife, and she said, “See? That’s how it is.” She’s been saying that for years, but I could never feel it.